The llawarra Hawks long sought after pursuit for back-to-back wins continues after a heartbreaking one-point loss to the Bullets in Brisbane on Sunday.
The Hawks had a chance to secure the win in the dying seconds of the game but Gary Clark's shot was off the mark, handing the Bullets a hard-fought 78-77 win.
The Hawks have now lost eight of their 11 games this season to sit in last-place on the NBL ladder heading into their next game against the firing Perth Wildcats in Wollongong on Friday.
Illawarra coach Justin Tatum indicated before the match that he was looking to settle on an eight or nine-player rotation but 11 guys got on the court against the Bullets in the first half alone.
And the Hawks made more than 20 substitutions in the first 20 minutes of the game.
But it seemed to have the desired effect with the Hawks trailing the Bullets by just two points after the first term and were just one point behind the Bullets at half-time.
One of those players who played more minutes than usual was Hyunjung Lee.
The sharpshooter made the most of his minutes in the second quarter, dropping nine points of three of three shots from behind the three-point line.
Lee and Sam Froling (9) led the Hawks in scoring in the first half.
Froling was especially good in the opening term, where he contributed seven points during the entertaining first half which ended with the Bullets holding a slim 50-49 lead.
Unfortunately Tyler Harvey struggled to get into the game in the first half, missing all four of his shots and contributing only two points from the free-throw line.
Harvey's first field goal didn't come until one minute into the third quarter.
Bullets guard Chris Smith (12 points) hurt the Hawks in the first half, especially from outside, where he made four from seven shots.
The free-flowing scoring of the first two quarters went missing in the third term as both teams picked up their defensive effort.
But it was Brisbane who maintained the rage and outscored Illawarra 15-12 to head to the last change 65-61 to the good.
The Hawks finally won a quarter, outscoring the Bullets 16-13 in the final term but still fell desperately short of a victory which would have ended a 603-day wait for two wins on the trot.
Justin Robinson stepped up big in the final quarter, hitting two crucial three-pointers but fellow Hawks guard Harvey (5 points) had one of his worst shooting nights on record, making only one of his 11 shots.
Robinson on the other hand finished with 13 points (from five of nine shooting), three rebounds and four assists.
Clark also contributed 13 points, nine rebounds and one assist.
Froling was the next best scorer for the Hawks, with 11 points, followed by Lee who finished with 10 points, six rebounds and one steal.
In the media conference after the game Tatum praised his team's grit and fight.
"It was a great contest, A really good contest between two really good teams," he said.
"My guys fought hard and we executed almost every category we've been working on for the last couple of weeks.
"We just got the short-end of the stick, and that's just the way the game goes sometimes but I'm very proud of my guys and the way they played today.
"A couple of weeks ago we probably would have folded or lost by double digits, just because of our morale, but right now we feel like we're a different group, we have different upbeat.
"I'm not proud of the outcome but I'm proud of my team and the way they fought."